As I watch my kids grow in the various stages of their life, I find myself thinking back to my own childhood and I comparing my children to myself at their age. I was recently thinking about my relationship with God in my childhood. It seems that when I compare my relationship to God as a child, to my children’s, it seems like my children’s relationship with God is very different from mine. Don’t get me wrong, my children are great kids who do love the Lord….but it seems that they don’t have to lean on the Lord as much as I did as a child. As a parent, I tend to try to do my best to shield them from life, from pain, and from heartache as much as I can. I’ve found myself on many occasions doing my best to step into their world to make it as ideal as possible for them.
But when I reflect back to my own childhood, I feel like I experienced more trials and hardships than my children have had to endure….and in the middle of that, I found myself leaning into the Lord and developing a personal relationship with the Lord at a very young age. I leaned into His word and found it to be full of hope and encouragement during those days.
I recently read this passage from Judges 2:7,10-12 (NIV)
“ The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel…..After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them.”
These scriptures disheartened me so much. Joshua was a great leader who led the people of Israel into the promised land. They fought many battles, but the Lord gave them victory against their enemies. They settled into the land of Canaan and were finally living in the fulfillment of what was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob so many years before. Yet, the faithfulness and the goodness of God was not carried forward to the generations that came after Joshua and his elders. The scripture says that they did not know the Lord, nor did they know what He had done for Israel.
This helped me to realize that it’s not my job to make my children’s lives pain and hurt free. Yes, it is my job as a parents to watch over them and protect them as best as possible. But I have to let them experience disappointment and pain at times so that they can develop their own relationship with God and experience His faithfulness first hand. I pray that as they experience certain disappointments and trials, that they would lean into the Lord, and find that He is not only the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joshua…but He is also their God who loves them and has a good plan for their life and their future. – Vijoy